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COVID-19 Further Education and Training (FET) Learner Report

This report is developed from findings gathered through a Further Education and Training COVID-19 learner consultation by AONTAS between April and June 2020.

This learner consultation built upon AONTAS’ learner voice work through the National FET Learner Forum, an annual learner voice project designed to capture the educational experience of learners in further education and training across Ireland (AONTAS FET National Leaner Forum).

The National FET Learner Forum provides a range of methods for engaging with learners across FET, enabling authentic engagement and the sharing of views in a supportive environment.

This project, which is funded by SOLAS and the European Social Fund, is delivered in collaboration with the sixteen Education and Training Boards across Ireland.

In order to capture the experiences of adult learners in Further Education and Training during COVID-19 restrictions, this research deployed two approaches to learner engagement: virtual focus group discussions (held via online video platform Zoom, herein referred to as the Virtual Forum) and a Learner Survey (delivered online).

The findings from both of these virtual focus group discussions and survey data are presented in the Key Findings section of this report. The data compiled in the Learner Survey can also be found in Appendix 2 featured at the end of this report. Listening to all voices, particularly those least heard in policy, is central to our work in AONTAS.

This report captures the experiences of FET learners during COVID-19 in order to identify issues impacting learners and ways they can be addressed in order to mitigate educational disadvantage.

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